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COLLECTION Identifier: MS Russ 136

José María Castañé collection of Sergei Smirnov photographs


Photographs from the personal collection of Sergei Smirnov, chief photographer for the newspaper Izvestia.


  • Creation: circa 1944-1999

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open for research.


1.15 linear feet (4 flat boxes)

Consists of black and white photographs of Soviet officials, their families, and members of their circles in informal settings, performing ceremonial functions, and interacting with foreign leaders. The bulk portray Nikita Khrushchev and Leonid Brezhnev; Yuri Andropov, Konstantin Chernenko, and Mikhail Gorbachev are also portrayed.

Biographical / Historical

José María Castañé is a Spanish businessman and patron of the arts. His collection of artifacts and documents relating to the major conflicts of the 20th century, of which the photographs by Smirnov form one part, was compiled over some 25 years. A substantial portion of the Castañé Collection was donated to Harvard University’s Houghton Library in 2015.


Arranged alphabetically by subject or title, thereunder chronologically.

Physical Location


Immediate Source of Acquisition

2014M-120. Gift of José María Castañé and the Fundación José María Castañé, 2015.

Processing Information

Processed by Michael Austin and Irina Klyagin, 2017.

Castañé, José María, collector. José María Castañé collection of Sergei Smirnov photographs, circa 1944-1991 (MS Russ 136): Guide
Michael Austin, Irina Klyagin
2017 April 14
Description rules
Language of description

Repository Details

Part of the Houghton Library Repository

Houghton Library is Harvard College's principal repository for rare books and manuscripts, archives, and more. Houghton Library's collections represent the scope of human experience from ancient Egypt to twenty-first century Cambridge. With strengths primarily in North American and European history, literature, and culture, collections range in media from printed books and handwritten manuscripts to maps, drawings and paintings, prints, posters, photographs, film and audio recordings, and digital media, as well as costumes, theater props, and a wide range of other objects. Houghton Library has historically focused on collecting the written record of European and Eurocentric North American culture, yet it holds a large and diverse number of primary sources valuable for research on the languages, culture and history of indigenous peoples of the Americas, Africa, Asia and Oceania.

Houghton Library’s Reading Room is free and open to all who wish to use the library’s collections.

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